For the fourth consecutive year, Reggie Wayne is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame – and he'll be considered for a gold jacket alongside former teammate Dwight Freeney.
Wayne and Freeney are among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Modern Era Class of 2023, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Wednesday night. The 49-person Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee will meet in the coming weeks to determine the 2023 Modern Era inductees, with the process whittling the group of 15 finalists down to 10 and then five. Once those final five finalists are chosen, the selection committee will vote yes or no on each player, with 80 percent of the vote needed to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Modern Era Class of 2023 will be unveiled during the NFL Honors award show at 9 p.m. ET on Feb. 9.
While this is Wayne's fourth year as a finalist, it's Freeney's first – and it comes in his first year of eligibility.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who played for the Colts in 2015, was also selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
Freeney and Wayne will look to join five other Hall of Famers from their era of Colts football: General manager Bill Polian (inducted 2015), head coach Tony Dungy (inducted 2016), wide receiver Marvin Harrison (inducted 2016), running back Edgerrin James (inducted 2020) and quarterback Peyton Manning (inducted 2021).
Freeney, who starred for the Colts from 2002-2012, finished his career with 125 1/2 sacks, 26th all-time, and was a three-time first-team AP All-Pro (2004, 2005, 2009) and seven-time Pro Bowler (2003-2005, 2008-2011. Using his signature spin move, Freeney was a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks.
He had double-digit sacks in seven seasons and forced four or more fumbles in eight seasons; he led the NFL with nine forced fumbles and 20 tackles for a loss as a rookie and led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2004. And Freeney's 11 postseason sacks are tied for ninth all-time.
Freeney, too, was named to prestigious NFL All-Decade team for the 2000s.
Wayne, over his 14-year career, established himself among the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history. His 1,070 receptions and 14,345 receiving yards both rank 10th all-time; he's one of only 10 players to have at least 1,000 receptions and 14,000 receiving yards in a career.
But for as productive as Wayne was in the regular season, he was dominant in the postseason. Wayne is one of five players in NFL history to have more than 1,200 receiving yards and at least nine touchdowns in the playoffs, and his 93 postseason receptions rank fifth all-time.
Against the Denver Broncos in the wild card round of the 2004 NFL Playoffs, Wayne amassed 221 receiving yards, fourth-most for a single game in postseason history. And Wayne's 53-yard touchdown in Super Bowl XLI sparked the Colts' 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears, which brought a Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis.
Wayne was previously chosen as a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist in 2020-2022.
And in February, we'll find out if the selection committee will honor Freeney and Wayne's Hall of Fame-worthy careers with a gold jacket and permanent place in Canton.